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Pacifics: Fate of NAL’s Northern Division rests on winning lawsuit

San Rafael PacificsIf an appellate court grants a request to boot the San Rafael Pacifics (independent; North American League) from Albert Park, the league’s Northern Division will shut down, according to Pacifics President Mike Shapiro in papers filed in court.

The California First District Court of Appeal is hearing an appeal of a lower-court decision allowing the Pacifics to play at Albert Park this season. The Albert Park Neighborhood Alliance says deed restrictions on the original Albert Park grant prohibits its use as a professional sports venue because outside events are limited to a single week in length. The Pacifics landed the Albert Park lease after agreeing to several limitations sought by local landowners, including restrictions on alcohol and a cap of 800 fans per game.

In a declaration opposing the Albert Park Neighborhood Alliance petition for writ of supersedeas (a request to repeal the earlier decision in Marin County Superior Court) filed April 11, team president/GM Shapiro says the fate of the league’s entire Northern Division — Maui Na Koa Ikaika, Yuma Panthers, Orange County Flyers — rests on the Appellate Court not granting an order to void the lease for Albert Park between the city and the Pacifics, referred to in court papers as SRP. From the declaration:

29. …Without a doubt, a stay/injunction will not only require cancellation of the SRP’s inaugural 2012 season, but will doom the entire Northern Division of the North American League in which SRP is scheduled to compete. Without SRP’s involvement, the Northern Division of the North American League will cease operations because only three teams (Maui Na Koa Ikaika, Yuma Panthers, Orange County Flyers) will remain in the Division and they cannot complete without a 4th team for competitive and scheduling reasons. Should that occur, the Maui, Yuma and Orange County franchises will each lose amounts substantially similar to the losses expected in San Rafael.

30. Beyond cancelling the SRP’s season and those of its three divisional counterparts and the psychological impact felt by the citizens and ballplayers of all ages who have emotionally invested in the SRP, the team’s owners, business sponsors, vendors, local businesses, job seekers and ticket buyers would have all lost a connection to the fabric of this community in addition to significant financial losses.

31. If a stay/injunction is issued, the owners and investors of SRP will lose their investment of over $250,000 and an additional $30,000 for the cost of Albert Park renovations completed to date.

32. In addition, SRP would be required to refund over $370,000 to sponsors, over $35,000 to ticket buyers, over $11,000 to tryout participants, and over $10,000 to charitable organizations for unfulfilled auction and raffle prices.

33. Further, the City will lose approximately $30,000 in rental income (approximately $20,000 in net income.

Now, what Shapiro argues isn’t that surprising or shocking — when the appeal was first filed, we noted that the team’s existence was key to the NAL operating this year — but it’s a little sobering to see the financial stakes involved for all parties. The NAL will certainly play this year, even if it’s only the five Texas teams and one traveling squad in the Southern Division standings, but the loss of the Northern Division will be felt in a few pocketbooks.

No further hearings have been scheduled on the matter.

RELATED STORIES: Pacifics ballpark back in court; New for 2012: San Rafael Pacifics; Shapiro to head San Rafael NAL team; San Rafael approves one-year NAL lease for Albert Park; San Rafael ballpark proposal scaled back to 800-seat facility; San Rafael delays decision on NAL ballpark, as citizens class over merits; San Rafael debates NAL ballpark at Albert Park


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